Did you hear the loud earth-shattering boom earlier today? That was the sound of the hearts of Hoosier Nation fans breaking.
Although it’s not a complete shock Victor Oladipo is forgoing his senior year and entering the NBA draft, it didn’t make the news any less bitter-tasting.
The junior, first-team All-American is graduating in May and according to the AP he is projected as a top-six choice.
Oladipo was the second-leading scorer and averaged 6.3 rebounds and 13.6 points a game. He also commanded respect by those he played with and against. But more than that, at the risk of sounding like a complete girl, he looks really, really cool doing it.
I mean come on, not only can he drive the lane, throw a shot up under handed and sink it, he can dunk the ball with what looks like an effortless jump. The man has “hops.”
I’ve written before about the program rebuilding after sanctions from Kelvin Sampson nearly demolished the tradition known as Indiana basketball. Oladipo was one of the guys who helped fans remember what it’s all about. The 6’5″ Maryland native was able to come in to a new state, school and basketball program and not only succeed, but epitomize what Indiana University basketball is. They worked hard and demanded the nation note their growth. As a result they made IU basketball spectators have fun.
Although I’m not happy to see him leave, I’m grateful to have attended the school consisting of this program. Cody Zeller, a sophomore basketball player, will announce his plans tomorrow. I won’t be surprised if he decides to enter the NBA draft as well but the holes left behind will be big to fill (and not just because they are big guys). If both Oladipo and Zeller are NBA bound that will leave four former starting positions ( Christian Watford, Zeller, Oladipo and Jordan Hulls) empty.
Although it’s uncertain what Zeller will decide, I will put my sadness aside and wish the best for Oladipo. I think Victor said it best in the press conference announcing his decision.
“It’s an honor to be an Indiana Hoosier. It means so much to me and I will always be an Indiana Hoosier. This is my home. I love this place. I love the fans. I love the people.”
In the same press conference, he said will come back to visit and he hopes he will be welcomed back with open arms.
We will always welcome you back, Victor.
Love, a member of Hoosier Nation